When I bought my boat from Clemens I pointed over to a row of boats and asked "What's up with those boats?" the salesman said "Oh those are Stabicraft's, they're for the guys who are afraid to sink" So I'm guessing they're pretty sea worthy lol
Arima is advertised to be unsinkable but they will ride pretty low in the water if they're full. Ha ha... There are drawback to Arima's so it kinda depends on what you expect of them. With that in mind, there is no such thing as the perfect boat. Some adjustments to be made with all of them, depending.
I helped a friend buy a 17' Stabicraft, open layout w/ tiller. 115 Yamaha. We took it out of Newport to salmon fish last year. I felt completely safe and comfortable in it. And yes, we caught some fish. Stabicraft is like an aluminum Zodiak. They have a tube with sealed bulkheads every 6' or so all round the boat, except the transom. They look like a floating brick, but I was amazed at how soft the ride was. Plus they are very well made. My 2cents, CopperMan.
another vote for Stabicraft My buddy is from NZ and he has one over there says it wont ever sink I know my NR Seahawwk would sink like a rock if it filled with water so I don't plan on letting that happen!
I have a Whaler Dauntless 16 ( same model as pic of Whaler cut in half above) It’s the biggest little boat I’ve ever been on. Deeper V than the classic Montauk and sport models. Been out in heavy seas and handles them like a champ. The amount of foam in the gunnels and hull truly make it as unsinkable as you can get. Scaled up versions in the 25 foot plus range give you an extraordinarily seaworthy and unsinkable craft in just about any conditions. You pay $$$$ for it though!
Mark has it right. Seaworthy and unsinkable are two completely different things. I think seaworthy is the more important.
Actually the most important thing is the skill and judgement of the captain. In second place is probably how well the vessel is maintained. Most boats are reasonably seaworthy. Seaworthiness is a tertiary issue. Whatever the boat, a good captain will know its limits and stay out of trouble.
Unsinkablity is way down on the list. Hanging onto a swamped upside-down hull isn't a great survival strategy. In that situation, it's more important that the captain had the skills and equipment to relay a distress signal with a precise location, acivate the EPIRB, and provide buddy boat/raft/gumby suit/PFD. A skilled captain would have much less probability of ever putting you in that predicament in the first place.
Imagine a captain that is drunk, or totally unskilled, arrogant or in over their heads. Imagine a high-quality boat with the finest gear that is run down and neglected, with electrical problems, compromised engines, weak batteries, broken equipment or chronic leaks. Or imagine a boat that is totally overloaded. Or a boat that runs out of fuel after getting lost in the fog. All of these are nightmare scenarios. I'd much rather have a less-capable boat with a competent captain who keeps the vessel in top condition.
Titanic was unsinkable, until the captain made the mistake of running at speed in the fog. Safety boils down to the captain.
The foam filled glass boats (Whalers, Arimas, etc...) use foam both to ensure the hull floats in case of something really bad happening (it is better to be sitting on the bottom of a big 20' long turtled hull waiting for the Coast Guard than drifting along holding onto a cooler lid). The foam also provides rigidity that makes the hull stronger. The downside is the foam (even closed cell) can get waterlogged over time.
There are aluminum builders who do the same (Hewescraft). Same downsides w/ water in the foam, but IMO the upside (if you hit a log and rip open the hull offshore, you have a giant floaty to hold onto vs. nothing but a PFD or some debris).
IMO, Stabicraft makes one of the more "unsinkable" aluminum hulls. Chambered aluminum pods running down either side of the boat that serve both as floatation and giant reverse chines (make the boat more stable on drift and a drier ride). Some other builders use this design.
However, Stabis (and Arimas) are generally not self bailing (the biggest Arima 22 is). The biggest Hewes are, but most are not. Having some way to quickly evacuate water from inside the boat w/o needing to rely on pumps is a pretty big requirement for something to be "unsinkable." For our typical conditions here in the PNW, I think a big flared bow, or a chambered bow of some kind, that won't flood and hold water is also a must.
If I were buying a large-ish tailorable boat for safe PNW offshore fishing right now and I wanted a high degree of safety in the design, I'd be most interested in a Stabicraft 2750 (or whatever size Stabi meets your needs. If I were buying a similar sized glass boat, I'd look into buying a quality used hull (Whaler Conquest 255 or some other variety) and repower. If I wanted something smaller to be a jack-of-all-trades to fish the river and the ocean, I'd buy what I have (Hewes Ocean Pro 220 or 240.) If I wanted a small, cheap to run and tow, and very sea-worthy for its size boat, I'd buy an Arima.
Threemuch, I want an 80's Montauk as well. What a classic. I'd want a 130 hp OMC blue smoke outboard, and the twin 12 gallon above deck tanks under the reversing helm seat. I spent soo much time drooling over the Boston Whaler catalog.
One of my regular crew used to own an older Stabicraft 21'... the chambered pods did cut into the deck space, and it got a little cramped w/ 3 guys plus kill bags tuna fishing. The fishing deck was smaller than the typical 21' NR Seahawk/Hewes Sea Runner, etc... My 22' Ocean Pro's deck is much larger. As you go up in size, it obviously becomes less of an issue w/ the bigger Stabis.
I love the 2750 Ultracab hull for the full, useful 360 degree walkaround... would be killer for jig stops on tuna, and for fishing halibut and bottom fish. It also opens up a lot more useful real estate in the boat. The Kiwis put a lot of engineering into those hulls... there are little diverter ridges and scupper holes in the floor of that walkaround to keep water from making it's way back to the deck.